Business Community United on Pension Issues

By May 15, 2012General

A little while ago, a letter from 204 businesses and trade associations representing companies all across the country sent a letter to the Congress urging them to take immediate “action to stabilize funding interest rate rules for private-sector pension plans” to adjust for current economic conditions which are driving up pension funding obligations and in opposition to pension premium increases.

Pension plan funding obligations are inversely tied to interest rates so when interest rates are low – like they are today – then pension obligations are high.  Since the financial collapse the FED has adopted a policy of keeping interest rates low in an effort to stimulate the economy.

One negative side effect of this policy is the impact on a company’s pension obligations. The Senate a few months ago passed a provision that would fix the funding rules to all a more historically accurate measure for funding obligations using a 10 percent corridor around the 25 year average.

This provision was part of the highway transportation bill which is now in conference. We are hopeful that the Conferees will adopt this provision and make it permanent rather than time limited as provided for in the Senate bill.

This provision makes sense and if made permanent will go a long way toward helping provide businesses more certainty from which to plan for this commitment. Improved planning will mean more certainty which will in turn help make our companies better able to compete in today’s economy. We urge Congress to adopt this common sense solution.

Carolyn Lee

Carolyn Lee

Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute at The Manufacturing Institute
Carolyn Lee is Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation’s largest industrial trade association. Carolyn drives an agenda focused on improving the manufacturing industry through its three centers: the Center for the American Workforce, the Center for Manufacturing Research, and the Center for Best Practices.

In her role, Carolyn leads the Institute’s workforce efforts to close the skills gap and inspire all Americans to enter the U.S. manufacturing workforce, focusing on women, youth, and veterans. Carolyn steers the Institute’s initiatives and programs to educate the public on manufacturing careers, improve the quality of manufacturing education, engage, develop and retain key members of the workforce, and identify and document best practices. In addition, Carolyn drives the agenda for the Center for Manufacturing Research, which partners with leading consulting firms in the country. The Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.

Prior to joining the Institute, Carolyn was Senior Director of Tax Policy at the NAM beginning in 2011, where she was responsible for key portions of the NAM’s tax portfolio representing the manufacturing community on Capitol Hill and in the business community and working closely with the NAM membership. She served as the Director of Legislative and Government Affairs at the Telecommunications Industry Association, Manager of State and Federal Government Affairs for 3M Company, and in various positions on Capitol Hill including as Legislative Director for former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and as a senior legislative staff member for former U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY).

Carolyn is a graduate of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania graduating with a B.A. in Political Science. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children.
Carolyn Lee

Leave a Reply